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Tipsheet

Arizona Providing $7K to Families Facing 'Educational Barriers' Amid School Closures

AP Photo/Matt York, file

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced Tuesday families could receive $7,000 as part of the launch of a new program designed to help families struggling with "educational barriers" as a result of school closures.

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Funds received through the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program would be used for childcare, transportation, tutoring and school tuition needs approved by the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

And families who meet certain income requirements could also use the money to send their children to another school if their school closes for even one day.

"In Arizona, we’re going to ensure continued access to in-person learning," Ducey said in a press release. "Everyone agrees that schools should stay open and kids need to be in the classroom.  With this announcement, we are making sure parents and families have options if a school closes its doors. Parents are best suited to make decisions about their child’s education."

"In-person learning is vital for the development, well-being and educational needs of K-12 students," he continued. "We will continue to work with families, public health experts and school leaders to ensure our kids can stay in the classroom and parents have a choice — always."

In March 2021, Ducey introduced a plan requiring schools to resume in-person instruction.

President Joe Biden, White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona all recently expressed their support for continuing in-person learning following the holiday break.

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But according to a public school opening tracker from the community event website Burbio, more than 3,200 schools across the country are closed this week amid a recent surge in COVID cases fueled by the highly infectious omicron variant.

And a number of teachers unions in Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and elsewhere are pushing for even more school closures over health concerns due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

However, a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from January 2021 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, amid schools reopening for in-person learning, there had been "little evidence" that schools "contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission."

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